Still no clear timeline on Western Edge investigation


Following a number of questions by Shadow Planning Minister Peter Cain in Estimates Hearings today, the Planning Minister has been unable to provide a timeline on when investigations into the Western Edge will be complete.

With the ACT Labor-Greens government having spent over $1 million and two years investigating the Western Edge, Canberrans are none the wiser about when these studies will be completed and when Canberrans might see residential development in the area.

Shadow Minister for Planning and Land Management Peter Cain said it is still unclear if there will even be funding allocated to investigating the area beyond 2022-23.

“The Planning Minister was briefed in 2019 that greenfield land supply in Gungahlin and Molonglo will be exhausted by 2022 and 2031 respectively,” Mr Cain said.

“With 2022 already upon us and 2031 less than a decade away, it is unacceptable that no funding has been allocated to the Western Edge investigation beyond this financial year.

“While providing no clear indication on when the investigation will be completed, the Chief Planner did say it can take up to 17 years to complete investigations of this type.

“It is clear the ACT Labor-Greens government is deliberately dragging its heels when it comes to the Western Edge as it does not suit their ideological infill policy.

“Canberrans are crying out for a reprieve from the pressures of this housing crisis and the development of the Western Edge would help that, yet the progress of the investigative studies has been excruciatingly slow.

“Canberra is undeniably in the midst of a housing crisis and the policies of this Labor-Greens government have deliberately stymied the amount of land being released for residential development.

We also know that even when the Labor-Greens government has greenfield land to release to homebuyers, they haven’t met their targets for land release targets for years.

“The Canberra housing market needs the Western Edge to be ready for development as soon as possible, not seventeen years from now,” Mr Cain concluded.